Emburey's end game

Glamorgan 276 and 258-5 Middlesex 530
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The Independent Online
GLAMORGAN'S bright start to the season is fading rapidly into misty Celtic memories. The two early victories that contrasted so vividly with their last place in the County Championship the previous season now seem like distant events, with another defeat looming despite the efforts of their openers to frustrate Middlesex yesterday.

Hugh Morris and Steve James, faced with a first innings deficit of 254, worked their way steadily to 147, before Morris was caught behind off Dion Nash, the sixth bowler the visitors had used to try to break the partnership.

James, constricted at first on a wicket which had already proved conducive to quick scoring, came out of his shell as he progressed but went after reaching 84, his best total of the season so far.

That was the first of three wickets to fall to John Emburey, the most successful of the three spinners Middlesex employed on a pitch that was beginning to turn. The veteran off-spinner clean-bowled both David Hemp and Robert Croft, while Phil Tufnell, who appealed volubly and hopefully throughout the afternoon, was rewarded by accounting for Matthew Maynard.

With Hamesh Anthony also back in the pavilion, retired hurt after top- edging an attempted hook, it took Glamorgan all their time to limp into an overall lead. They have the small satisfaction of taking the game into its final day tomorrow, but that is all they will get out of this match.

Earlier, Emburey had figured in an unlikely coincidence that began the process by which Middlesex's overnight centurion, Keith Brown, eventually ran out of partners.

Brown and Emburey had added 45 to their score when Emburey followed Mike Gatting in falling victim to a run-out when the bowler, Croft in this case, unwittingly deflected a drive on to his stumps. You can go for some time without seeing that mode of dismissal in County cricket, so twice in one innings amounted to a genuine long shot.

If losing wickets when securely past the 500 mark constitutes a collapse, then Emburey's departure produced one. In rapid succession, Brown lost Richard Johnson, Angus Frazer and Tufnell, all of whom fell victim to the nagging length and line bowling of Steve Barwick.

The visitors' superiority was still decisive enough to leave open only the question of how long Middlesex will have to wait. Despite the stubborn efforts of James and Morris, the answer now seems likely to be revealed early tomorrow.